It’s a truth universally acknowledged that moms live crazy-busy lives. After all, we have kids! Plus we often also have work in or outside the home, housework, a partner we’re supposed to pay attention to sometimes, remembering to feed ourselves and our families…how are we supposed to find time to chill out? Thanks to, well, living through the dumpster fire that was 2020 and continuing to stay at home for at least the beginning of 2021, folks are finally admitting that self-care matters. And what better way to incorporate some “me” time than with a few quick and easy self-care items even the busiest moms will love?
There are plenty of simple self-care ideas moms can implement, but when you’re beyond busy, any ambitions of booking an appointment in a float tank pretty much go right out the window. If you daydream about some uninterrupted quiet time or just eight hours of sleep — or a way to simultaneously make dinner and do something that makes you feel good about yourself — good news! We’ve rounded up the best quick fixes even the busiest moms can work into their routine.
An eye gel patch to de-puff your eyes after those early-AM baby wake-ups? Check. A teeth-whitening kit you can use while in bed? Check. You have to treat yourself — because we know it’s a rarity you get to spend 10 minutes alone to pee in peace. So grab one of these, and then get back to being the kick-ass mom you are.
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Oprah may not be a mom, but if she swears by something, it must be worth buying. This updated version of her favorite moisturizer comes with the added bonus of SPF 30 so you can keep your skin protected without an extra step.
Time is of the essence as a parent, and let’s be real; you never get more than a few minutes alone — especially in the bathroom. Use those five minutes to dab on this pore-refining charcoal mask and make the most of those blessed seconds before your kindergartener picks the bathroom lock. This mask brightens and evens skin tone and hydrates your skin, and the charcoal absorbs dirt and oils to give your clean, baby-soft skin. Plus, if your kid bursts in while this is on your face, it might scare them. Just an added bonus.
If you’ve wanted to dabble in the K-beauty world, but didn’t know where to start, look no further than this must-have kit. This four-piece set by Peach & Lily comes with the basic skin care items you need for the glowiest skin ever—and without the hassle. Thanks to the cleanser, essence, serum, and matcha antioxidant cream, you’ll be on your way to smoother, luminous, and hydrated skin in no time.
At the end of the day, it’s a miracle if you don’t just flop into bed once you get the kids down. Honestly, most of the time, we debate whether we have the energy to get up and wash our faces. This duo, which supermodel and mama Rosie Huntington-Whiteley uses, makes taking care of your skin foolproof so there’s always time to squeeze in some pampering. Slather on the sunscreen in the am and brighten skin while you’re sleeping with the overnight mask.
Goat milk bath bomb
This bath bomb has the benefit of a) smelling unbelievably good, and b) feeling just like taking a milk bath — minus the gross imagery of dumping cartons of milk into your bathtub. The fat and protein in the bomb feed your skin with softness and moisture, while exfoliating to give you an absolute glow.
Putting your family first usually means you just don’t have time for things you’d like to do. Not anymore. This subscription-based LED teeth-whitening kit comes with custom whitening formulas made with pain-free, natural ingredients (you’ll take a short quiz first). To use, dose out half of the whitening formula equally onto the top and bottom halves of the LED light mouthpiece (1/4 on each side), plug it into your phone —it comes with multiple adapters—and set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Hello, whiter teeth in just six days!
Give your overworked facial muscles a little love with this amethyst facial roller that vanishes dark circles and puffy skin. If you haven’t been fully rested since 2002 (what a weird coincidence that was also when you had your first child), this is the tool for you. It takes only a couple of minutes to roll this cooling little device over your worry lines and damn-it-Karen-don’t-make-me-count-to-three furrows to release stress and ward off anxiety.
Brush It Off
If you’ve never heard of dry brushing, you’re missing out on one of the fastest ways you can give your skin some much-deserved love and attention. Benefits include cellulite-appearance reduction, improvement in blood circulation, shedding dead skin and eliminating clogged pores for better nutrient absorption.
Anything that does double duty is great and saves you precious minutes by cutting out yet another layer to apply. This is not only a fantastic moisturizer that provides all-day hydration, but it also has SPF 30, because it isn’t cute anymore when your toddler plays their favorite game of count Mommy’s wrinkles. (Thank God they can only count to five.)
The “No Makeup” Look
This is the best combo: a lightweight foundation, hydrating lotion anti-wrinkle cream and SPF 15. It’s made with 98.9 percent natural ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about chemicals, and is pocket-size for your convenience. Perfect for the mom on the go.
Acu at Home
While this may look like a terrifying medieval torture device, it’s actually a quick, easy and painless way to stimulate your nerves and improve blood flow. You can use it anywhere on your body, and it fights wrinkles while improving your skin’s elasticity.
If the only me time you get is the five minutes with your cup of coffee in the morning before all hell breaks loo… we mean, before your darling children wake up, check out Wize Monkey. Wize Monkey coffee leaf tea is an unusual loose tea that uses the leaves from the coffee plant. It’s smooth, sustainable, has no caffeine crash, and is packed with antioxidants. And they provide jobs for coffee farmers year-round.
Stay on Track
Moms lead insane, hectic, chaotic lives. You’re in charge of a bunch of tiny people, all their activities, keeping them fed and (occasionally) bathed and making sure you don’t leave for Christmas vacation without one. If your brain doesn’t explode from all that’s crammed in there, you’re a magician. For everyone else, there are Live Whale planners. Live Whale is the most practical and effective planner, designed to motivate you and help you gain more control over your life. Improve your positivity, productivity and mental health. Because you have to treat your brain too, Mama.
If you’re not one for a color-changing desktop essential oil diffuser but still want the benefits of aromatherapy, this minimalist volcanic rock aromatherapy bracelet has you covered. Subtle and understated, the three stones are made from lava rocks, the porous quality of which lets it absorb more essential oil. You can treat yourself to aromatherapy all day, right from your wrist.
This Australian pink clay mask brightens and detoxifies in just 10 minutes, tightens pores and boosts your skin’s natural radiance. It comes with a soft applicator brush so your fingers don’t get all goopy and is made from Australian pink clay, mangosteen, kelp, witch hazel, pomegranate and Kakadu plum.
If you need five minutes to just breathe but are in your cubicle or stuck in traffic, this mini travel essential oil diffuser will make anywhere more bearable and give you a few moments of Zen. It has multiple charging capabilities, an auto-off feature and seven different-colored lights to choose from. Pair it with your fave essential oil, and you can bust this bad boy out when you need it the most — say, on a plane or pre-conference call.
Nourish yourself from the inside out with these vegan vitamins (gummy, because you are way more likely to take a vitamin every day if it’s a gummy) that hydrates your skin and is loaded with tons of vitamin C, vitamin E and stimulates collagen production to give you that all-natural glow.
Perk up your eyes and combat puffiness, fatigue and dryness with these anytime, anywhere cooling gel eye patches loaded with caffeine and hydrolyzed collagen. These patches work in just five minutes, so you can pop them on while waiting in the school pickup line and be refreshed by the time you get to the front.
A version of this story was originally published in January 2019.
For more mother-approved beauty goodness, check out these cult skincare products real moms swear by.